It’s been awhile since we’ve included our manager but there’s so much ammunition when it comes to misinformed management and HCI.
Sadly, the scenario we’re talking about this week isn’t too far from the truth. It’s very easy for both customer and management to lean towards adding more features over usability enhancements. Although one could spin a usability enhancement as a feature, too often, it’s regarded as “fluff” or “gold-plating”. Why does this happen and how do we combat it?
Consider two people: an Engineering Project Manager and an Art Director. Really they could both be called “project managers” since Art Directors basically do project management for creative projects.
Although they play conceptually similar roles, if you compare the way these two people work you’ll find notable differences. The engineering project manager wants maximal efficiency — this means trying to prevent the same work being done twice. The art director wants maximal creativity –this *guarantees* that the same work will be done dozens of times. Let me clarify. An artist under competent art direction should expect to work through many drafts, ultimately discarding most, and adapting a few until reaching one that hits the mark. This probably sounds familiar to our readers, since this is what UI prototyping is all about. Ideally we have usability close the design loop, bringing in the feedback that an art director might typically give in a creative project.
Y’know, this has been sent around left right and senter and it’s quite old but I feel like it’s our sivik duty to mention it on OK/Kancel.
Jakob Nielsen deklares the letter “C” unusable